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Karen salutes Game4Padel Tour as her Padel lifeline!

KAREN CRAWFORD has described the Game4Padel Tour as a “super important” development after partnering Michelle Crease to victory in Saturday’s ladies’ Grade 3 Event at Thistle Padel and Tennis Club.


Karen and Michelle defeated No.2 seeds Iria Del Rios and Ashley Mears in a truly epic three set finale 7-5, 5-7 12-10 in a match described by Game4Padel Tour manager Neil Harden as the “best ladies match so far” at our events.


For Karen, who left her native Aberdeen at 6am to make the trip to the Scottish capital the Game4Padel Tour has provided a padel lifeline as there are no courts at present in the Granite City.


Reflecting on this the new LTA Padel Regional Game4Padel Grade 3 winner said: “It’s super important, had I not started coming down to these one-day events I wouldn’t even have tried padel as there are no facilities in Aberdeen yet.


“So to get the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh and play and meet new people is just amazing and I love it. The Game4Padel Tour makes it possible for people like me to come down and play and regardless of winning or not it is very worthwhile.


“The final was really close and well played to Ashley and Iria. We were up, they were up, and every game was full of great points with tough rallies and with people watching it was played in a good atmosphere.


“In the Champions Tie Break they were 9-6 up and we got it back to nine-all and just kept it together to get the win and we are both delighted.”


As Karen explained her fledgling partnership with Michelle, for which Saturday’s event was the first outing, was also borne of the bonhomie of a previous G4P Tour event: “Michelle is from Edinburgh but we connected at the Mixed Doubles tournament at Edinburgh Park in April during down time and we decided we would pair up at the next Ladies Doubles tournament.


“For me that is one of the great things about these Game4Padel tournaments in that they give you the chance to meet new people and I am sure we will partner again at other events.


“In Aberdeen we are hoping that a couple of padel venues will be up and running before May is out but there are no definitive dates as yet.


“So, right now the only time I play padel is in these competitions and this was my third competition having played at the mixed last month in which I was runner-up and then I played a ladies doubles at Thistle.


“Really they are a lifeline and a great way of meeting other padel players and making new friendships.”


Unfortunately the Ladies event was robbed of its top seeds after a back injury to Desni McIntosh meant she and partner Fiona Livingston had to scratch but special mention must be made of third placed Elaine Easton and Christine Hobden and fourth positioned Mary Rose Brennan and Lorna Nicholl who all contributed greatly to fine day’s padel.


Game4Padel Tour Manager Neil Harden had no doubt that the ‘femme finale’ was a fitting end to the event: “Actually the event finished with two really high quality matches but in the deciding tie with Karen (Crawford) and Michelle (Crease) against Ashley (Mears) and Iria (Del Rio) was a fantastic match and I would go so far as to say the best ladies match we have had to date.


“Considering this was Karen and Michelle’s first tournament as a pairing and the fact it was only Karen’s third event that was quite something.

“In terms of the match-up with it going right down to the wire and really close points at the end this is exactly what you hope for in a final match and all the players were challenged in it so it was a fitting end to the ladies tournament.”


In the Men’s Grade Three event No.2 seeded David Holmes and Sammy McKinney defeated Richard Bancroft and Mark Hinchcliffe 6-4, 6-2, who had earlier shocked top-seeded Stuart Alexander and Mathias Kupiec.


With Holmes and McKinney defeating UK ranked No.18 padel ace Ethan Bardo and Tim Wise it was a fine weekend for the Edinburgh duo and Neil shared: “The final was a well fought contest played at a good level and it was great to see some new faces making the final while the other pairing of Richard Bancroft and Mark Hinchcliffe had travelled up from Harrogate and that is great to see.


“At the moment David and Sammy are positioned about 54 and 99 in the UK rankings and this win will move both of them up and I have no doubt they have the skills to go higher in the rankings.


“But this was our third men’s event and we have been consistent with our numbers with 14 couples every time, eight pairings in the Grade Three and six pairings in the Grade Four and the great thing is that all these guys are starting to pick up ranking points and we are starting to see an order emerging.


“We still need to attract new people and ultimately we could look to have a Grade Five but first and foremost you want everyone enjoying competitive matches.


“That said even when people lose they love it and enjoy it and that is the beauty of padel I guess.”


In the Grade 4 event Oriel Ortigosa and Juan Carlos Santos Alonso defeated Ross Gladwin and Gordon Hamilton after a rollercoaster three set encounter that had it all 7-6, 1-6. 10-4.


The next Game4Padel Tour event is a Mixed Event scheduled for June.

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